Friday, February 27, 2009

Taxes and Films

The tax season is upon us. And as a producer, I am in charge of ensuring each film I have produced meets its tax requirements. This responsibility brings me so much joy -- okay, that's not true at all but it's a responsibility I take very seriously and which definitely adds a lot more grey hair to my head. 

Every film is normally set up as its own business, typically as a Limited Liability Company. I usually start an LLC for a film during pre-production. I am not quick to start new companies because they are costly ($800 per year minimum with a $20 Statement of Info fee every couple of years) in California and I really don't need anymore grey hair. 

I find $800 to be extremely high for companies that typically don't make much money. I asked my accountant why the fee was so high and she explained it to me like this: California considers it a privilege for us to do business in the state. Therefore, they feel we must pay for that privilege. And boy do we pay! Other states can be much less costly. Georgia only charges $30/year for the privilege of doing business in their state. I think we should be more like Georgia, don't you?

It's not uncommon for me to be managing 5 or more LLCs at one time. Each LLC requires a breakdown of expenses. I do this with my business partner Jade in Quickbooks. It's extremely tedious and contributes to more grey hair. We then do a marathon meeting with our accountant who does the taxes for all the businesses along with our personal taxes in one sitting. I am writing about this today because I just finished a few days of preparing everything for that appointment and just got back from that appointment now. Whew! Another year behind me. Here's to the future and no more taxes until next year!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take Action!

Any lover of independent film must read this call to action from Ted Hope. I'm asking Ted how we can come together as a community and effect change. I hope to have more suggestions soon.

Cannes in a Van and Paper Airplanes in NYC

I read about Cannes in a Van and I had to share. It's this wacky kind of film promotion that I love. 

Also check out the video of a paper airplane flight in NYC. When I had an office in Soho, I did the same thing. It's a beautiful sight.

CANNES in a VAN - The Perfect Vehicle for Independent Film
www.cannesinavan.com

The wheels are turning once again!
While our 2009 site currently has the decorators in and should be up and running soon, we're calling for submissions for the Cannes in a Van 2009 trip to the Cote d'Azur. True to form of the last 2 years showcasing independent film right on the Croisette from our humble yellow Ford Transit, against the odds (and the 'crunch'), we're doing it again... and we'd love you to join us.

SCREEN YOUR FILMS in CANNES & be part of The Smallest Mobile Film Festival in the World.
If you are a filmmaker, film collective or production company who wants to screen your film or selection at CANNES in a VAN, we want to hear from you.
This year, as well as cramming in as many shorts as we can in the space of 10 days, we want to 'champion' a select bunch of films - with repeat screenings, web presence and promotion. We aim to give them the unique international exposure only Cannes in a Van can! Oh, and it's free.
All you need to do is download the submission form and send it with your film to the address on the form. You can find the submission form at:

http://www.shallowfilms.com/Cannesinavan/DESIGN/COPY/CiaV%20submission (...)

ABOUT US
There's not a lot to it really... We screen your films, to a captive, film-loving audience at the Cannes Film Festival, from a van. We do it because we love film... and filmmakers. We've had some great support in the last two years from various sponsors (check out the 2008 site for links) as well as some generous filmmakers, which enable us to make the trip.
It's in the spirit of guerilla cinema and we need as much word-of-mouth support as we can get, including forwarding the site on to friends, journalists, filmmakers, media... sponsorship from small companies and any ideas, feedback or help you might be able to offer. We can offer links and advertising in return for sponsorship and would love to support whoever we can.
Last year we went green too, converting the van to run on vegetable oil (courtesy of Bloomingfutures.com). It's just not so good in the cold!

GET INVOLVED
We're looking for people to lend a hand while we're in Cannes, so if you're going to be at the festival and want to get involved in something that's promoting independent film in it's purest form, drop us a line.

THANKS FOR LISTENING and don't forget to send in your films!
PLEASE SUPPORT US IN ANY WAY YOU CANNES!

Email us at:
twoblokes@cannesinavan.com

Cheers

Andy
CANNESinaVAN



Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Yorker Closes Doors. Let's Keep Ours Open!

The indie world is in a tizzy right now over the closing of longstanding indie distributor New Yorker. It's a sad day when a company like New Yorker shuts its doors. To think that they made it through decades (43 years to be exact) of perilous times only to meet its demise in a time when society needs access to auteur filmmaking more than ever. IndieWire has a great article here on the whole gut-wrenching story. 

Talk about rubbing salt in all our wounds after we dig ourselves in this hole by foolishly overextending on home loans and allowing Wall Street to play Monopoly with our money. A side effect of all of this play time is the loss of the treasures like New Yorker. I can only hope we all have learned from our mistakes. I'm certainly learning as I struggle to stay alive myself! 

The days of knowingly overextending ourselves in the hopes that we will figure it out in the future are gone. This is true for us in the indie film world. We can't greenlight films in the hopes that we will make our money back. We need to "know" as much as we possibly can that we can make the money back or we will all end up with our doors closed. 

How do we do that? Research and work. We can't "guess" that our audience will like the film and want to see it. We need to find out before we even make the film who our audience is and will they want to see this film. We need to cast the film with our audience's interests in mind. We need to create a budget and cut it in half. We need to market our stories as soon as we have them. Basically, we need to do everything we can at the earliest stage possible to ensure our doors stay open! 

Monday, February 23, 2009

2009 Oscar and Spirit Award Winners

Category 2009 Oscar 2009 Spirit Award
Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire       The Wrestler
First Feature Synecdoche, New York
Director Danny Boyle               Tom McCarthy
Actor Sean Penn          Mickey Rourke
Actress Kate Winslet               Melissa Leo
Foreign                 Departures The Class
Documentary Man on Wire Man on Wire
Cinematography Slumdog Millionaire The Wrestler
Sup Actress Penelope Cruz              Penelope Cruz
Sup Actor Heath Ledger                 James Franco
Screenplay Woody Allen, V.C.B.
First S-play Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Adapted S-play Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog
Original S-play Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Song "Jai Ho," Slumdog
Score Slumdog Millionaire
Editing Chris Dickens, Slumdog
Sound Mixing Slumdog Millionaire
Sound Editing The Dark Knight
Visual Effects The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doc Short Smile Pinki
Short (Live) Spielzeugland (Toyland)
Makeup The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Costume           The Duchess
Art Direction The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Short (Ani.) La Maison en Petits Cubes
Ani. Feature Wall-E
John Cassavetes Award In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Robert Altman Award Synecdoche, New York
Piaget Producers Award Heather Rae
Acura Someone to Watch Award Lynn Shelton
Lacoste Truer Than Fiction Award Margaret Brown


Saturday, February 21, 2009

2009 Independent Spirit Awards

Today's the day for the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards! Catch them on IFC at 2p pst/5p est or on AMC (edited and rebroadcast) at 10p est & pst. They are also streaming live on the Spirit Awards Web site. Indie films that have excelled in 2008 are nominated in various categories, like the Oscars, and given a platform for well-deserved accolades. Click here for a list of the nominees.

Film Independent (FIND) is the organization behind these awards. Those independent films that meet the following criteria (from the Spirit Awards Web site) are considered:
  1. All submitted films must be at least 70 minutes long.
  2. Cost of completed film, including post, must be less than $20 million.(For verification purposes, all films with total budgets exceeding $15 million or films with budgets under $500,000 applying for the Cassavetes Award are required to submit the top sheets from the film's Final Cost Report.)
  3. Eligible films must have either: a) Been shown at least one week in a commercial theater between January 1 and December 31, 2008; or b) Been shown in 2008 at one of the following six film festivals: The Los Angeles Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, New York, Sundance, Telluride, or Toronto. Films that have or will have domestic theatrical distribution should be submitted the year of their theatrical run.
The Nominating Guidelines (also from the Spirit Awards Web site) are: 

Uniqueness of vision
Original, provocative subject matter
Economy of means (with particular attention paid to total production cost and individual compensation)
Percentage of financing from independent sources
Except for the category of Best Documentary and Best Foreign Film, all nominations go to American films, defined as either:
Having at least one U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident credited in two or more of the following categories of responsibility: writer, director, producer; OR
The film is set in the United States and fully financed by a company whose principal office is in the U.S.

So now that you are knowledgeable on how the films made their way to the nomination, tune in and see who wins! 

I'm really excited to see that a number of films (Frozen River, Rachel Getting Married, The Visitor, MilkThe Wrestler, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Man on Wire, Encounters at the End of the World, and The Betrayal) are in the running for both an Independent Spirit Award and an Oscar. All in the same weekend! Those filmmakers must be very happy and it's a great boost to the credibility of indie filmmaking. I'll be cheering for them all. 

Friday, February 20, 2009

SAG v. AMPTP

There is still no deal between SAG and the AMPTP. This past week had both parties in a flurry of negotiating. I'm actually not surprised. If their negotiations are anything like traditional negotiations for talent agreements then this could go on forever. The new offer from the AMPTP is at their Web site here

What does all this negotiating mean?

For producers, it means that we are cautious about greenlighting a picture until the negotiations are completed. Why? Because there is still a possibility of a breakdown in negotiating, which could trigger a strike. If SAG is striking then we aren't filming and we are losing money. 

SAG was offering Completion Guarantee contracts for independent projects as long as the independent projects agreed to the changes in the new contract. I have a Completion Guarantee on two of my projects. However, not every project qualifies and I am hearing that SAG may not even be offering anymore of these contracts. 

I said it before and will say it again: Please SAG, don't strike! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Change Is Afoot in the Sundance Landscape

Geoff Gilmore, the longstanding leader of the Sundance Film Festival, is moving on from his leadership role as Chief Programmer at Sundance to take on a leadership role as Chief Creative Officer at Tribeca Enterprises. 

This is not a lateral move for Gilmore. He's not moving as Chief Programmer of Sundance to become Chief Programmer of the Tribeca Film Festival. Rather, he will be running the parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival and guiding Tribeca Enterprises' overall content on a global level. 

What will this mean for both Sundance and Tribeca? Will Sundance become smaller and more intimate without Gilmore's presence? Will the Tribeca Film Festival suddenly feature less mainstream-type films and go for the more auteur indie films. We won't know for a while but rest assured change is afoot on both coasts due to Gilmore's move.

Gilmore claims he wanted to move back to NY and that is the reason for the shift. I can't blame him. I love NY and threaten to move back daily. It's not that LA isn't lovely and a great place to be; there's just a magnetism about NY. It's hard to stay away for too long. 

One things is for sure: I'm glad Gilmore will still be in the indie film community. At least he didn't leave Sundance to go run Warner Bros. We need people like Gilmore to help keep indie films on everyone's radar and provide platforms for launching our babies. This next year is going to be very interesting...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back for the Attack and Thoughts on HJNTIY

On the way back to LA last night my husband pointed out that as we got closer to LA (and closer to resuming responsibilities), I was getting crabbier and crabbier. I blame it on hunger pains but there really is some truth to the idea that we can find ourselves overwhelmed by our own doing and we need time outs. I just wasn't ready for my time-out to end. Baby needed a little more time in the corner.  

I feel much less crabby this morning. I'm back for the attack!

I'd like to reflect a little on our viewing, during our much-too-brief vacation, of the controversial He's Just Not That Into You. After a day of wine tasting, we thought it best to do a non-drinking activity. So we saw this film that has had many people up in arms about the anti-female message it was suggesting. My feminist hackles were up; I was all ready to be appalled.

Right away, I wanted to slap Ginnifer Goodwin's character as being too gaga over her situation, but as the film marches on, she calms down and actually starts to take control of her love life, instead of the other way around. And seeing Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly jumping up and down with Ginnifer Goodwin over Goodwin's character's googliness was a a bit of a shock as well. 

Once I got over that, I realized that in general the film is being ironic. It's fully aware of the stereotype that women can be overly dramatic when it comes to relationships and it tries to point out that it's not just women, the boys go nuts too. Sure, the film does show women acting dramatic over their relationships but it also shows men acting the same exact way over their situations. The irony is that everyone goes a bit insane over their relationships. We all get silly and dreamy and we cry and act out and do bad things. 

The overall message of the film is that both sexes do crazy things as they navigate the typhoon waters of love. Love is messy and we are all human and act out. And while I wanted to hate this film for the controversy it was causing, I found that I didn't hate it. It wasn't perfect and there were moments I found them all annoying. But I wouldn't say that the filmmakers were women-haters. 

I know many may disagree with my opinion but it's my two-cents for whatever they are worth. I am happy to be challenged on them. 

What I did find refreshing was a really charming performance from Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck. Their relationship and how they handled themselves was really lovely. Yay Jennifer and Ben!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Get a Life!

As an indie film producer, I have to remind myself of this mantra every day: Get a life! If I don't, I find days go by in a blur of never-ending script reading and strategizing and researching and budgeting and thinking about who is ignoring my calls or emails or who has money to invest, etc. 

My husband is constantly saying I am the hardest working person he knows -- and the least recognized or paid for my efforts. I shrug it off as I eat my next can of Campbell's Bean n' Bacon soup -- can't beat a buck for dinner -- as I continue to work toward the day I am financially stable enough to wake up every day and just write, develop, and make movies -- as I eat my bon bons. 

But sometimes, even I recognize that I need to get a life. And so do all of you who are like me. Take a break. Watch a movie without analyzing it. Eat a tin of brownies and drink a bottle of wine with your loved ones. Run away for the weekend, a week, a month -- however long -- but get away from it all. Don't answer the Blackberry (yeah right, that just might kill you) or try only looking at it once an hour, not once every five minutes. 

Slow down, smell the roses, take a nap or a bath. Get a haircut or a massage. Do something other than obsess about your movies. You will have better perspective and more energy for this insane lifestyle if you do. 

That being said, I am going to take this advice and head to wine country this weekend. I am not going to blog while I am gone. I will be back on Tuesday with the results. 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Get out the Sleepless in Seattle or Love Actually or Roman Holiday and just enjoy life for a while.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday Abraham Lincoln!

It's former President Lincoln's 200th birthday today. Our current President Obama is very fond of Lincoln and has emulated much of his beliefs and actions on the way to the White House. Did you know that other presidents share Obama's love of Lincoln? Teddy Roosevelt actually wore a ring that contained a lock of Lincoln's hair.

I think it's time for a mini-series on Lincoln. 

In the meantime, here are a couple of video tributes to Lincoln. The second is the Gettysburg Address recited by Jeff Daniels. 




Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First-Run Indie Film Streaming

Gigantic Releasing has launched a site that allows you to stream the premiere of a first-run indie film online both in high-res and ad-free. The price is $2.99 to viewers.


They are offering ten of my readers free passes for one of their films. If you are interested, email me and I will put you in touch with them for the pass so you can check out the film. 


Go to Gigantic Digital and see what they're all about.


For you filmmakers who may be interested in approaching them about a release of your film through this service, here's the scoop: They are open to a variety of different agreements with filmmakers based on the material. For instance, they can do a traditional acquisition for all rights over an extended period (7-10 years) or they can do an exclusive digital-only release over a brief period of time (3 months) or anything in-between. Any digital-only deal is structured as a 50-50 split after limited, agreed upon expenses which, in round numbers, results in a dollar to the producer for every ticket purchased. 


I am not endorsing their service as I haven't used it (yet) but it sounds like a pretty cool thing to consider. If any of you use them for a release, let me know and we can highlight your experience. 



Monday, February 9, 2009

The Plight of the Female-Centric Films

The performance of He's Just Not That Into You is sparking a heated debate over whether or not women are perpetuating misogynistic views by seeing films like it and the recent Bride Wars. There's a great discussion at Women and Hollywood

Personally, I haven't seen either film. I was drawn more to the quiet charm of Last Chance Harvey than the antics of either HJNTIY or BW. 

So I really can't comment on the quality of either HJNTIY or BW or the level of misogyny going on in them. But I can comment on the dearth of quality female-centric films, whether studio-driven or independent, that has resulted in success for films like HJNTIY and BW. 

For some reason, the studios do not feel the female market is viable. This should be obvious to everyone. How many films at the theater are geared toward women? And how much shock was everyone in last year when Sex and the City did remarkably well? I wasn't in shock. My response was, Duh! 

The side effects of all this talk about the female audience will hopefully help our situation of getting quality female films greenlit. You better believe HJNTIY and BW are being monitored by the studio heads and other financiers and that their success will directly relate to the greater development of projects for women. And that's exciting and that's where we should put our focus. 

Let's make sure the strides that are being made to prove the female market exists are used to help us make better films for women that have greater exposure. Let's talk about and take action on getting the development process to focus on projects that don't suggest misogyny. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Poopy Chick Movies Do Good

I wasn't convinced that there was a real problem with garnering support for films that were for a female audience. Naively, I thought, perhaps it's just that films for a female audience don't perform as well so they are harder to get made. 

But, now that I am pushing a film for a female audience, I am being slapped in the face by the exact issues that others have experienced and lamented: There really is a stigma out there about making and marketing films for women. I'm here to say: This has to change! 

Thank God we have bloggers like Melissa Silverstein who has brought a great deal of attention to the women and film plight at her Women and Hollywood blog. 

After the performance of He's Just Not That Into You this weekend (it received higher than expected results at $27.5 million), I am even further convinced that there is a conspiracy to not make or market films for women as there is obviously a hungry audience for these kind of films.

Honestly, I am tiring of the denigrated status of every female-centric film being tossed in the category of "chick flick" or as my bro-in-law would say, PCM or Poopy Chick Movie. I love PCMs. The Notebook had me crying for two days straight. There's something really cathartic about crying over a really romantic, emotionally draining piece of cinema. I'd rather cry at a movie than at my own sucky life challenges. 

My bro-in-law and others like him just don't want to admit that PCMs are important to the emotional development of society. Without them, we'd all be stunted.

Just because I like PCMs doesn't mean I can't get stoked by someone's head being blown off. I love big, shoot-em up films. My fav has always been Terminator. I am super excited that another Terminator  is being made. But I am equally excited for the next Joe Wright film (director of Pride and Prejudice and Atonement). 

Girls know how to have it all in their movie-going experience. Give us laughter, tears, and joy in the PCMs then mix it up with a Bourne Identity and Pulp Fiction. Girls are just too cool! 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Industry Outbursts

The entertainment industry can absolutely make any one of us insane. I share this edited clip  as proof that film and TV sets can be stressful. It's not all fun and games. It's really hard work and tensions are running  high. My palms were sweating just listening to this because I have experienced many similar moments on set. 

Honestly, I still love Christian Bale. He's extremely talented. I would be happy to have him cussing me out on set in exchange for an opportunity to work with him. 

(WARNING: Lots of profanity!)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Producer Training and Mentorship

I commented on Ted Hope's blog Truly Free Film (if you aren't following his blog, you should) about my thoughts on how there is minimal producer training and mentor programs. This is something that needs to change in the industry. Here is what I had to say for you all to consider: 

Much of the struggles of the industry are due to the lack of resources, training and mentoring to producers. If we have enough support for the group of people whom actually greenlight the pictures then maybe that will trickle down over everything.

I can't think of one organization that strongly focuses on the development of indie producers. Film school producing programs are just the beginning of training. And most indie producers don't attend film school anyway. You must already have films distributed in order to join the Producers Guild as a producer. By then you have already typically made a few crappy ones that never got distributed. IFP and Film Independent and Sundance try to offer help but they also heavily service directors and writers. And much of the best resources are given in tiny labs that are very hard to get into.

I think we need an organization specifically for producers -- that will be the most effective.

Most of the interviews in film magazines are with writers and directors. I know more about the writers and directors of indie films than producers. That needs to change. More publicity and knowledge of what a producer does will help. Maybe those less experienced won't jump in so quickly if they really understand how big a job it is.

I think that if we start an organization that is helmed or guided by successful producers that really gives back to the next generation of producers then we are on to something that can help indie films get better. Teach indie producers how to develop strong films and be a strong creative partner to the director. Help them understand the importance of a strong cast. Distributors have said they want projects with name actors. How do indie producers make this happen? They need help. Bigger producers could help make inroads with the agents so they are more open to having their clients in smaller films. Give indie producers resources that really help them secure distribution.

You help to teach and build the skills of indie producers and I guarantee there will be significant change in the quality of films being made. They will develop projects longer. Staff it right and cast it well, etc. We lament the loss of billions of dollars each year on indie films. Who is gathering this money and using it? Producers! Let's get us trained and organized and perhaps these losses will diminish. I'm ready to do what it takes to fix the situation. This is my livelihood. If I don't help fix it, who will?

If there were an organization providing more significant training and support from the top at the producer level, we would see a huge difference in the quality of films being made. I know my producer colleagues and I could use more support and the problem is that we haven't been able to find this "ongoing" support. We lean on each other and we join all the usual associations that do exist, but we still struggle finding the mentoring that we really want and need.

Sure, most of us have worked with amazing producers in the past who try to be approachable but it's not an effective system. These amazing producers are extremely busy and have their own projects to worry about. I think these producers would be more available if they were working within an established system of giving back. I personally find it much easier to give back through an established means rather than random email and phone requests that have a high chance of getting lost in the shuffle. In addition, an established system would allow mentoring from multiple sources, which benefits everyone.

I am a case study in what is broken in our system. I work extremely hard and have the best of intentions for making entertaining films that appeal to a wide audience. I want my investors to make their money back, and I believe I am making the right decisions but if I had a system to lean on a bit more, I know I would increase the odds of my films being a success. And if producers like me have a hard time building a proper support system, how do those just starting out have a chance? It's a real dilemma.

We need a system that offers producers a means for receiving guidance and training, and in turn, allows those producers who have "made it" to give back in a significant way. By the time a producer has made a name for him or herself, he or she has usually already made a few films that have lost money. I am sure this "learning" period is where we are seeing the greatest loss in the billions of dollars of investment money. We catch producers at this phase in their careers and we provide a foundation for a thriving independent film industry.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Have Fun with Your Filmmaking

I think it's great when you can think of ways to have a good time when making smaller films. There usually isn't much money to be had so why not make it about the experience as well as making a movie? 

Here's an example of some filmmakers creating a journey out of their work. Check it out and if you are in a city they are going to be in and you want to contribute, give them a shout. It sounds super cool and fun to me. Here's the dealio:  

The Two-week Turnaround Tour, or T3, is a community filmmaking project. Thousands of amateur and professional filmmakers will come together in over 14 US cities to write, shoot, and screen a short film in just two weeks.

We believe everyone has something to offer in the collaborative art of filmmmaking. The tour kicks off March 27, 2009. Check out our site at www.filmblazer.com.
 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Crew Labs Contest - Win a Marketing Package for Your Film

In conjunction with my film trailer blog, I want to alert you all to a contest brought to you by Crew Creative, an entertainment advertising company. Here is a link for more information.

As I have already pointed out, it's important to have a strong trailer for your film. Entertainment advertising companies, like Crew Creative, offer trailer creation along with other publicity materials. Often they are out of the price range of an indie film. But Crew Creative is offering an opportunity for a low budget film to garner a marketing package that only the bigger budgets could afford.  

The winner of Crew Labs will be rewarded with a one-sheet art poster, an interactive website, and a trailer for their film
.  

Good luck!

Film Trailers

A film trailer is an absolutely necessary part of your sales arsenal for your film. You will use your trailer to entice distributors to buy your film and audiences to buy tickets to see your film. 

There are three kinds of trailers you should be familiar with: teaser, theatrical trailer and sales trailer. A teaser is approx. a 30 second spot that "teases" the audience with  your story. Teasers may be released even while the film is being edited to whet the appetite of the audience.

Here is a teaser trailer for The Dark Knight:



A theatrical trailer is about 2  to 2 1/2 mins and it's typically the trailer used to hook audiences. Theatrical trailers show before films at the movie theater or on TV or the Internet. Thus they need to be for all audiences (no nudity or swearing or extreme violence, etc.). 

Here are two theatrical trailers for The Dark Knight:


OR 


Sales trailers, on the other hand, are usually for buyers of the film. They tend to be longer (almost 3 mins or more) and contain the goodies from your film that you wouldn't find in the theatrical trailer, i.e. nudity, blood, scenes of high production value that give away too much of the story, etc. Buyers want to see what your film has to offer in one short clip.  

I don't have a version of the sales trailer to show you from The Dark Knight. That trailer would be used by sales agents at film markets like the ones at Berlin or Cannes or Los Angeles (American Film Market or AFM). Just imagine a longer clip with more of the scenes that really give away all of the major selling points, like the incredible VFX, etc. 

Many independent films have a hard time affording an experienced trailer editor. I understand that predicament but I would suggest that you do your best to try to find someone with trailer cutting experience. 

A trailer editor will have been trained in how to "sell" a film. That knowledge and experience can directly result in sales of your movie. I have heard countless stories of distributors buying movies based on solely seeing the trailer. Now that's an effective sales tool. 


Monday, February 2, 2009

iFilmmaker New Application




I'm off to Jury Duty today. Lots o' fun for me today. Maybe I'll see Gene Hackman there. If only it were the movies! A friend did say he hung out with Eva Longoria when he reported last. When I say hung out, he sat next to her. So who knows? Maybe I'll hang with a celebrity who is reporting too. I'll keep you posted on it. 

So today's blog will be brief since it's 6am and I have to report to duty at 7:30a! Don't they know that filmmakers sleep in when they aren't in production?? 

Today I'm alerting you all to a new application on Filmmaking topics called iFilmmaker Pro for your iPhone or iPod Touch from Vikram Yashpal Malhotra. I don't own either device so I couldn't try it out. If someone else wants to try it out and offer up a review that would be great.

You can download the application from iTunes App store and it will work on your iPHONE or iPOD Touch. It's $4.99 to download. As I said, I can't recommend the app as I don't own the iPhone or iPod Touch. But now you know about it so feel free to check it out if you like. 

Following is more information about the application:

For the movie making beginner, expert or "been-there-done-that indie enthusiast", iFilmMaker is loaded with 1500 questions, tips and tricks of the film making trade, presented in a very entertaining, and educational manner. With iFilmMaker application, you can learn about Editing, Directing/Producing, ScriptWriting, Acting, and Cinematography with easy to answer questions, and click to live web links for detailed information about the particular subject.

Features:
- Over 1500 questions to choose from with points for each correct answer

- 5 Film Making Subject Categories: Editing, Directing, ScriptWriting, Acting and Cinematography

- Each question has a detailed web page links for detailed informaton

- Users can submit a question as well!

- Active Leaderboard with a list of the top points scorers



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Superbowl Sunday and Football Movies


Rudy is my favorite football movie. I can watch it over and over and over. 

It's Superbowl Sunday. I will be checking out all the commercials for sure. For those of you in the football movie mood, here are some goodies:

The Express (2008; Dir. Gary Fleder; starring Rob Brown)
Leatherheads (2008; Dir. George Clooney; starring John Krasinski, Renee Zellweger)
The Longshots (2008; Dir. Fred Durst; starring Ice Cube)
We Are Marshall (2006; Dir. McG; starring Matthew McConaughey)
Gridiron Gang (2006; Dir. Phil Joanou; starring The Rock)
Invincible (2006; Dr. Ericson Core; starring Mark Wahlberg)
Friday Night Lights (2004; Dir. Peter Berg; starring Lucas Black, Jay Hernandez, Derek Luke)
Radio (2003; Dir. Michael Tollin; starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris)
Remember the Titans (2000; Dir. Boaz Yakin; starring Denzel Washington)
The Replacements (2000; Dir. Howard Deutch; starring Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman)
Any Given Sunday (1999; Dir. Oliver Stone; starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz)
Varsity Blues (1999; Dir. Brian Robbins; starring James Van Der Beek)
The Waterboy (1998; Dir. Frank Coraci; starring Adam Sandler)
Jerry Maguire (1996; Dir. Cameron Crowe; starring Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.)
Rudy (1993; Dir. David Anspaugh; starring Sean Astin) 
The Program (1993; Dir. David S. Ward; starring James Caan)
Everybody's All-American (1988; Dir. Taylor Hackford; starring Jessica Lange, Dennis Quaid)
Wildcats (1986; Dir. Michael Ritchie; starring Goldie Hawn)
All the Right Moves (1983; Dir. Michael Chapman; starring Tom Cruise)
North Dallas Forty (1979; Dir. Ted Kotcheff; starring Nick Nolte)
Heaven Can Wait (1978; Dir. Warren Beatty and Buck Henry; starring Warren Beatty)
Semi-Tough (1977; Dir. Michael Ritchie; starring Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson)
The Longest Yard (1974; Dir. Robert Aldrich; starring Burt Reynolds)
Brian's Song (1971; Dir. Buzz Kulic; starring Billy Dee Williams, James Caan)
Number One (1969; Dir. Tom Gries; starring Charlton Heston)
Paper Lion (1968; Dir. Alex March; starring Alan Alda)
Knute Rockne All American (1940; Dir. Lloyd Bacon; starring Pat O'Brien)

If you are interested, here is a list of the top-grossing football movies from 1975-Present. 

Since I couldn't list ALL the football movies, here's a very comprehensive list of football movies.